Being a teen is tough. There’s so much going on, both physically and emotionally. You’re dealing with puberty, changing relationships, new academic and social pressures. Also, you’re trying to keep up with all of the homework. It’s no wonder that teenage anxiety is so common. Our therapist for teens in Evanston understands your anxiety and is here to help you discover how to ease your stress.
If you’re struggling with anxiety, you’re not alone and therapy for teenagers can be a solution. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in three kids ages 13 to 18 will experience an anxiety disorder. But there are things you can do to manage your anxiety and not feel so afraid every time your algebra teacher calls on you. Here are some tips from our therapist for teens at Evanston Counseling to help you slay the anxiety dragon.
1. What is Teenage Anxiety, Anyway?
It’s hard to manage what you don’t understand. What is anxiety, anyway? What are the symptoms of anxiety? Once you know what it is, you can identify and cope with your emotions and feelings. There are many resources available to help you learn about teenage anxiety. Drop in and make an appointment with your school counselor. They are not just there to help you get into a good college. You can also talk to your parents, a trusted teacher, or a therapist for teens like us. You can also find helpful information online and in books about different therapeutic approaches that could be useful. Check out this book or this one to begin to learn how to manage your stress, anxiety, panic, and worry. You might find the info here interesting for helping you to keep your anxiety in check.
2. Did you just Call Yourself Stupid? Challenge your Negative Thoughts
Anxiety shows up the most in your negative thinking. When you’re anxious, you’re more likely to focus on the worst thing that could happen to you and to doubt yourself. But these negative thoughts aren’t always realistic or helpful. When you have a negative thought, try to challenge it. Ask yourself: is there any evidence to support what I’m thinking? Is there a more realistic way to look at the situation? It can also be helpful to replace negative thoughts with more positive ones. For example, instead of thinking “I’m going to fail this test,” tell yourself “I’ve studied hard, and I’m confident that I’ll do well.” Or instead of thinking “No one likes me,” tell yourself “I have a lot of great friends, and I’m a likable person.”
3. Breathe in, hold it, breathe out. Practice Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques can help calm your body and mind when you’re feeling anxious. You might feel there is no way to slow the flow of your racing thoughts. There are many different relaxation techniques that you can try, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation. Check out below to discover how to do each technique. Find one that works for you, and let it be your go-to tool for chilling out and calming down. To deep breathe, sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose, feeling your stomach rise. Breathe out slowly through your mouth, feeling your stomach fall. Continue breathing in and out deeply for several minutes.
Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups in your body. Start by tensing and relaxing your toes, then move your way up your body to your head. For each muscle group, tense the muscles for 5 seconds, then relax them for 10 seconds. Meditation is a practice that involves focusing your attention on the present moment. There are many different types of meditation, but most involve sitting quietly and focusing on your breath. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath.
4. Basketball, Anybody? Get Regular Exercise
You don’t have to be on the football or volleyball teams to get regular exercise. It really comes down to moving your body to get your heart rate up. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. It releases endorphins, mood-boosting neurotransmitters with feel-good effects. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. If you’re new to exercise, start slowly and gradually increase the time you spend exercising each week. You can try walking, running, biking, swimming, dancing, ultimate frisbee, or yoga. You can also take fitness classes in Evanston or join a sports team.
5. Snooze, you won’t Lose. Get Enough Sleep
When you’re well-rested, you’re better able to cope with stress and anxiety. We understand that AP classes are demanding and that you have tons of homework. There isn’t a lot of time for sleeping. Yet, aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try establishing a regular sleep schedule and sticking to it as much as possible, even on weekends. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed and create a relaxing bedtime routine.
6. Take a Pass on the Pizza. Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet can help to improve your mood and reduce anxiety symptoms. Eat some of your favorite, less healthy foods sometimes instead of every day. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Consider establishing a balanced and sustainable relationship with food, aiming for moderation and mindful eating. Limit processed foods, sugary drinks (we know, it’s hard), and saturated and unhealthy fats. Remember, making small, positive changes in your diet can lead to significant improvements in both your mood and anxiety levels over time.
7. Chug some Water instead of that Redbull. Reduce Caffeine and Alcohol
Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake is a crucial step in managing anxiety symptoms effectively. Caffeine and alcohol can worsen anxiety symptoms. To promote a calmer mind, consider either eliminating or significantly limiting your caffeine consumption—opting for one cup of coffee or tea per day, if necessary. It’s equally important to avoid alcohol completely, as it can interfere with sleep patterns and contribute to heightened anxiety. Embracing a lifestyle that prioritizes hydration, balanced nutrition, and mindfulness while minimizing the use of stimulants and depressants can significantly contribute to a more balanced mental state. Taking proactive steps to reduce caffeine and alcohol can be a transformative part of your approach to managing anxiety and fostering overall well-being.
8. Build your Squad: Connect with Others
Connecting with others is an important aspect of managing anxiety, particularly for teens who may find comfort in social support. It’s essential to communicate openly with friends, family, and trusted adults about your feelings. Sharing your experiences with those around you not only helps lighten the emotional load but also encourages a supportive environment. In addition to your immediate social circle, seeking the guidance of a therapist for teens can offer specialized support tailored to the unique challenges adolescents face. Therapists specializing in therapy for teens possess a deep understanding of the struggles teenagers encounter and can provide a safe space, both online and in-person, to explore and address anxiety-related concerns. Embracing these connections can contribute significantly to a teenager’s emotional well-being and overall resilience.
Begin Therapy for Teenagers in Evanston, IL for your Teenage Anxiety!
Try out our hacks (i.e., learn about anxiety, practice relaxation techniques, or get regular exercise, etc.) and see if you feel the weight of the anxiety lessening. If you’re a teenager facing overwhelming anxiety, therapy can make a real difference. Our Therapy for Teenagers in Evanston, IL provides crucial support, especially if your anxiety feels severe and is impacting your daily life. At Evanston Counseling, we offer a safe and confidential space where you can freely discuss the stressors of teen life with our experienced therapist for teens. Don’t let teenage anxiety hold you back; let us help you navigate through these challenges. We’re committed to providing support and understanding, guiding you towards a more confident and relaxed way of living. Take the first step towards a healthier, happier teenage experience by following the steps below:
- Reach out to schedule a free consultation.
- Speak with an experienced therapist for teens.
- Free yourself from teenage anxiety.
Other Therapy Services Offered at Evanston Counseling in Evanston, Chicago, and throughout Illinois
At Evanston Counseling, our commitment extends beyond offering Therapy for Teenagers in Evanston, IL. We provide a comprehensive range of specialized care to address various mental health concerns. Our therapy services include Therapy for Moms, Therapy for Young Adults, and Therapy for College Students, catering to individuals facing challenges like Anxiety, Depression, and Chronic Pain. We embrace diverse therapeutic modalities, including Hypnotherapy, Pet Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, ensuring a personalized approach that meets the unique needs of those seeking support. Reach out to us today to discover how our experienced team can equip you with valuable tools and strategies for emotional well-being, fostering a balanced and happier life through therapy.